Superficially Breaux Bridge is a lot like other Cajan towns. Located on the Bayou Teche, it has a lift bridge with the high super structure that lifts the road up when a boat wants to go by. Just give three hours notice. The residential areas are the typical mix: a handful of pseudo mansions white columns and all, a significant amount of middle class homes - all built of concrete and brick, the better to resist the onslaught of termites and other creepy crawlies. And a rundown collection of poorly maintained trailers, mobile homes and shacks, looking for all the world like some crystal meth is being distilled in the back room. But its location at the intersection of I-49 and I-10 gives Breaux Bridge a real advantage. With easy access from all directions, tour buses and casual tourists stop by to enjoy its fabulous restaurants, shop for antiques and enjoy the local culture. This influx of tourist cash gives the downtown area a spiffier look, but the locals are here right alongside the tourists enjoying what Breaux Bridge has to offer. On our final weekend in Acadia, we had plans for good eating and good music.
We started at Mulate’s for dinner, enjoying blackened catfish smothered in crawfish, jumbalya and the Cajan version of baked potato, oozing with cheese. Don’t come to Acadia if you are on a diet! A local band played as we ate and many folks let their food get cold as they jumped up to two step and move to the beat. The lady next to me left her purse unattended for most of the evening, something I wouldn’t dare at home. There’s something to be said for small towns.
Mulate’s menu had a quiz for aspiring Cajans. Except for the coffee question we did not pass.
Are you a Cajan? Here’s how to tell a full-blooded, dipped-in-the-bayou Cajan from somebody who just wishes he was.
• Did your grandmother regularly each couche-couche for breakfast? (corn meal type cereal)
• Does you father consider a six pack of beer and a pound of boudin (pork mixed with rice in a sausage casing) to be a seven course meal?
• Does your grandmother bellyache all week long - until Saturday, when she steps our with the best of them cutting a fine two-step?
• If the doctor told you coffee causes cancer, would you rather take your chances than do without it?
• Could you paddle a pirogue 20 miles an hour down a straight stretch of stump-free bayou?
• Is there a Tee-Jean, a Tee-Man, or a Tee-Boy among your uncles?
• Have you always called your uncle by his “Tee” name - and forgotten his real one?
• Are you related to your next door neighbor?
• Does someone in your family know how to treat sunstroke, the “waste away sickness” or “Indian Fire”?
• Can you remember when you hated to tell strangers you’d eaten crawfish for dinner because it was inelegant and everybody knew that only Cajuns ate crawfish?
• Look closely at the wedding photograph of your grandmother. Was her bridal bouquet made of crepe paper?
• If someone stepped on your toe, would you instinctively yell “Oh, Yee-Yi!” instead of “ouch”?